GEEKNOTE: It has been said that the Internet is forever and there is a certain truth of the saying. You lose control of anything you post. No matter how foolish you may have been in a weak moment, future employers and everyone else can likely pull it up to view.
The same goes for cell phones. The good news is that we can get back your pictures if you inadvertently reset your phone and wipe the internal memory. The bad news is that the next owner of your cell phone can do the same thing. Teens and others prone to lapses in judgement should give that some thought before they take an “Anthony Weiner” style picture of themselves or their friends.
If my cell phone is stolen or otherwise compromised, the thieves will get away with my collection of stained glass window shots from the First United Methodist Church of New Port Richey as well as assorted pictures of my grandkids and similar stuff. That’s about as exciting as it gets on my phone.
Today’s smart cell phones are nothing more or less than hand held computers with a cellular radio built in. You need to treat them as such. When you delete a picture or other file on a computer, you are simply deleting the pointer that tells the computer where to find it. The picture is still there until the location where it is is reused for something else.
With cell phones starting off with 16gb or more of non-volatile memory for storing your pictures, music, etc., there is a LOT of storage space to use before the old stuff starts getting reused.
This past week, my business partner saved all the pictures one of our clients thought she had lost when she reset her phone. I was able to recover a bunch of pictures and important documents on another client’s external hard drive Saturday morning using a program that identifies deleted files and lets you recover them. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about a cell phone memory card or a hard drive. The pictures are stored in exactly the same fashion.
If you consider all the OTHER stuff stored in the memory of your cell phone, you can see the sort of problem you create when you trade in your old phone or sell it when you buy a new one. There is a pretty good argument to be made to physically destroy your old phone when you are done with it. We do something similar with old computers. We pull the drives and physically destroy them. The old cases and the other stuff gets recycled, but the drives that store data are destroyed.
In any event, the best solution is to think before you take pictures with your cell phone in the first place. You will want to email them to your personal computer so you can make backup copies.
Rob Marlowe, Senior Geek
Gulfcoast Networking, Inc.